The State of NASCAR

May 15, 2007

Having been born and raised in The South (the southern United States for any international readers), I'm a fan of NASCAR. In fact, it's the only sport that I follow regularly. I know that the sport doesn't appeal to many people, but I have enjoyed it greatly since I was little. There are a few things I've had on my mind recently about the sport, so I'll present them here.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and DEI I'm not an Earnhardt fan (I prefer the Hendrick Motorsports stables of Gordon and Johnson), but I think it's great that Junior is leaving DEI. His step-mother Teresa really screwed Junior by refusing to give him a controlling share in his dad's business. So Junior has decided to turn the tables on his step-mom and walk away from the team. Once he leaves, DEI will no longer have any "star" drivers. I predict that DEI will die out in another season or two as a result.

Leadership I hate Mike Helton. Under his dictatorial leadership, NASCAR has lost several historic tracks, including Rockingham speedway. It has seen idiotic rules changes, such as no driving below the yellow line on certain tracks and no finishing under caution (attempting a green-white-checker finish instead). And it has become increasingly contradictory, throwing debris cautions in some cases and not others. Being family controlled is such a shame; the sport needs a commission like most other sports, made up of people who don't solely profit on the direction of the sport.

The Car of Tomorrow NASCAR introduced the "car of tomorrow" this year in an attempt to level the playing field for all drivers. So far, only Hendrick Motorsports seems to have figured out the new package (something I'm not complaining about). But it seems more like a move towards the IROC style of racing, where everyone drives the exact same car. There is less room today for teams to tweak the car itself, which is a shame. NASCAR is clearly losing its roots, but that's apparently what they want.

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